What’s new in LightBlue® Android v1.6.0 and iOS v3.1.1
LightBlue® Android v1.6.0
Hello BLE fans! We’ve been hard at work implementing some of your most highly requested features over the past couple of months for LightBlue® Android, and we’re excited to share these changes with you. The version 1.6.0 release of LightBlue® Android contains the following new features which bring the Android version of our app that much closer to feature parity with the iOS version of our app:
- Read and write data in binary and numeric formats (little-/big-endian, signed/unsigned).
- UI displaying available services and characteristics has been reworked to give a better birds-eye view of device capabilities.
- A custom hex keyboard will now appear in place of the normal keyboard when you’re entering hex payloads.
Reading and writing data in binary and numeric formats
In addition to the existing choices of UTF-8 string and hexadecimal numbers, our data format dropdown UI now lets you read and write data in the following formats:
- Binary (base-2 numbers)
- Unsigned, little-endian numbers
- Signed, little-endian numbers
- Unsigned, big-endian numbers
- Signed, big-endian numbers
As a side note, you can long-press on any of the read/indicated values or written values to copy the value shown on the UI onto your clipboard. You can also tap on any written value to have it automatically be populated into the write field, convenient if you just need to make minor tweaks to a value you recently wrote.
An updated look for services and characteristics
We use LightBlue® for BLE project development all the time, and it didn’t escape us that the existing way (see screenshot on left) of grouping characteristics under their containing services didn’t provide much information about the characteristics themselves, and one would need to first tap on the group of characteristics before tapping yet again on the characteristic that one would like to interact with.
The new look (see screenshot on right) still groups characteristics under their containing services, but we made it a one-tap affair to get from this birds-eye view to the screen that shows the characteristic’s details. We’ve also added the properties for each characteristic under the characteristic name or UUID to make it easier for our users—and ourselves!—to find a specific characteristic.
Custom hexadecimal keyboard
It can be tedious before this release to craft a hex payload that’ll be sent out to a BLE device because we had to deal with using our device’s default keyboard with all the characters that are on it. The app already ignored all keypresses that aren’t 0-9 and A-F, but we felt that a custom hexadecimal keyboard similar to what we have on our iOS app would make this experience a lot more pleasant and so we embarked on a journey to bring you this custom hexadecimal keyboard that replaces your default Android keyboard when you’re writing hex payloads. We hope you like it as much as we enjoyed implementing it!
LightBlue® iOS v3.1.1
The iOS version of LightBlue® has also received a recent update. The primary focus of this update was to address a handful of bugs that were causing some crashes. Fortunately, according to our analytics, these crashes were only impacting a very small number of users. In addition to addressing these crashes, we took the opportunity to do a bit of code cleanup as well. Most users will not notice anything as these changes are all under the hood. However, we did sneak in one update you will notice- our new PunchThrough loading indicator!
We’re delighted to announce that the virtual peripherals feature available on the iOS version of our app is now on the roadmap for our Android app, and we hope to bring it to our users soon.